Friday, October 22, 2010

Propellerheads Record drum takes demo!

Recently I was asked to “take” the all new Record Drum Takes refill from Propellerhead for a spin. I am completely open to new, perhaps better sounding and easier to program, drum solutions. This is new ground for me, at least when it comes to using Record. Let me explain the “reason” for posting this thought, and please excuse all of the puns.

Record has already brought me much enjoyment. Record has shaved a lot of time off of my creative process, to say the least. One (and perhaps the only) minor complaint that I have with Record and/or Reason is the sampled drum sounds found within.

I find myself using the ID8 inside of Record to quickly “sketch in” the drum lines. This is fast enough due to Rex loops and midi, but this approach often lacks the specific details that I wish to accent in my drum lines. Often times I later re-visit the drum line and change from the ID8 to a couple of Redrum machines. This allows for much more realistic drum lines, better sampled sounds, more control of the samples, and it comes with all of the midi editing features that I love so darn much. However, as a “realistic sounding drum junkie” the Redrum machine, sometimes, just does not cut it. Especially when I am looking for realistic “rock and roll drum kits”. Welcome Record Drum Takes!

First of all, we are not talking about midi information or Rex files here. We are not dragging midi into a player and then selecting drum samples for the midi to trigger. Propellerhead has done their homework, and they have come up with a cool idea for their drum Refills, which is Record Drum Takes. Multi “microphone'd”, multi tracked recordings of drums! Yes, real drums!

Downloading the “Alt Rock” Record Drum Takes refill took a few moments. This usually means that a lot of information is being downloaded, and a quality product is on its way. I get cautious when plug inns don't take very long to download. Record Drum Takes Refills come with a lot of information alright, so let me explain what I have found.

The information is not so much in a ton of drum lines to choose from. However, the drum lines that you get are very well recorded, using tons of perfectly placed microphones. Each “drum line” is very well recorded and they open up into in Record like a real session would in any studio session. In fact, each “drum session” contains such extras as room mics, overhead mics, a “compressed mic channel”, and the usual microphone placed on each piece of the drum kit.

Each microphone has its own “channel” on the mixing console just like a real professionally recorded drum session would! There is a lot of information here, in Record Drum Takes , and the beat goes on.......

There is a lot going on inside of Record Drum Takes. The Record Drum Takes “drum sessions” open inside of Record in a rather brilliant way. The different styles of a session are laid out as intros, verses, choruses, bridges, and so on. At the tail end of each drum session you will find all sorts of drum rolls and fills. You simply edit the lengths of the parts that you wish to use and then add the fills where you want them. So very simple!

However, using all of the usual copy/paste/select sort of edits that I usually perform while in Reason and Record ,(while using the Record Drum Takes Refill) took a few minutes to understand. In fact, it is different that what I was used to. This was entirely my fault, though, as I was in the middle of a “Cool new software rush”.

Since the drums are actually recorded in a multi track format, with actual microphones running all over the kit, you must select/copy/paste the entire “stack” of tracks as a whole. Each drum and/or cymbal hit is picked up on many of the different tracks, through each of the microphones. At first, this sent me into a confusion due to drums being heard where I did not want then to be heard after I edited a part. hit me!

I was dealing with the real deal here! Mic bleed is a real thing that happens as we record drums in recording studios, and Record Drum Takes is just that. So, make sure to delete/copy/paste/select the entire row (top to bottom) of drum microphone inputs as you work with the Record Drum Takes. Just to put what I am saying in another way, if you like the hi hats in one part of the drumline, and you decide to copy it and paste it into another part of your song, then you must use (copy and paste) all of the tracks (snare, kick, room, etc) in the copy and paste.

Now that I understand where I was getting muffled drum hits (or ghost notes)from, I corrected my mistakes. Now I find working with Propellerheads Record Drum Takes the only way to go! The drums being edited are real, they are played by real people, and they are recorded in a real studio.

Lastly, Record Drum Takes has an embeded NNXT, as a seperate instrument. The good folks at Propellerhead thought to include this NNXT set up with all of the drum hits laid out across your midi keyboard. This makes for easy adding of last minute cymbals or whatever else you might need. Plus, the bonus of getting these midi notes right on a grid, plus quantizing them, is alweays a joy.

The Record Drum Takes work in Record just as you think that they might. If you have ever used a mixing console to record multi-tracks of drums, then you will feel very comfortable using Record Drum Takes Refills. Record uses the best possible approach when it comes to use. The mixing console is the best recognized item in a studio, and we all know how to use them.

Propellerheads Record Drum Takes is a home recording/multi trackers dream. I now have a choice, well, when it comes to drums anyway. I have “midi programmable” live samples that I can program in Pro Tools, or I can add real multi track drum scores into my recordings. It will be interesting to see which way I go from here!

Propellerhead has a very cool idea in Record Drum Takes. They sound amazing. They are easy to use. I love how I can perform simple EQ and compression tasks to these drum tracks (just like in a studio) and get the exact results that the pros get. These recorded drums are of professional quality! I ask you all, “what else should we be placing into our recordings but the best?”.